MotoGP Magazine

 

Marco And Toni Continue Their Testing at Sepang

November 29th, 2005

Sepang, the Fortuna Honda team riders continued their testing programme today at Sepang and enjoyed improved conditions compared to yestarday, allowing the riders to enter the track early on in the morning.

Although Marco was not in perfect physical conditions, he continued to be one of the fastest riders on track: after having scored the best lap time yesterday, today the Italian posted the second fastest time. 
Alongside Marco, his team mate Toni Elias who, entering his second MotoGP season but his first 
for Honda, is building up experience on the RC211V. Toni completed 80 laps improving lap by laphis feeling with the bike. The Spaniard signed today’s third fastest time.

Marco Melandri (63 laps, 2’02”63 ): “Today we tested a range of front and rear tyres. I’m very satisfied of the work done today and I’m very happy to work with the Michelin technicians at the development of the tyres. I complet! ely 63 laps and made an endurance test covering half of the race distance. Tomorrow we have scheduled a race simulation. I’m very happy, the bike is working very well and I feel a bit better compared to yesterday.”

Toni Elias (80 laps, 2’02”76): “Today we continued working on the setting of the bike, focusing especially on forks and the feeling with the bike has improved. I’m feeling more comfortable even though at the moment I’m not riding as I would like to ride. All in all, I’m very happy, we have adopted a step-by-step approach and I’m gaining confidence with the RC211V.

Unfortunately today I was not feeling well but thanks to the doctors of the circuit, I could finish work programme scheduled for today.

UNOFFICIAL LAP TIMES 
1. Valentino Rossi (Ita/Yamaha) 2’02”62 
2. Marco Melandri (Ita/Honda)2’02”63 
3. Toni Elias (Sp/Honda) 2’02”76 
4. Carlos Chec! a (Sp/Honda) 2’02”90 
5. Colin Edwards (Usa/Yamaha) 2’02”98 
6. Nicky Hayden (Usa/Honda) 2’03”04 
7. John Hopkins (Usa/Suzuki) 2’03”24 
8. Dani Pedrosa (Sp/Honda) 2’03”35 
9. Nakano (Jap/Kawasaki) 2’03”49 
10. Casey Stoner (Aus/Honda) 2’03”53

Ducati Desmosedici GP6 Makes its Track Debut

November 28th, 2005

The Ducati Desmosedici GP6 took to the track today for its maiden run at the circuit that will host the opening round of the 2006 MotoGP World Championship.

Unfortunately the rain that had fallen during the night delayed the start of testing: in the morning both Ducati Marlboro Team riders were only able to carry out a rapid bike ’shakedown’, but they took to the track again at around 1.30 pm and continued testing for the rest of the day.

With low temperatures and damp patches around the Spanish track, conditions were not ideal, but Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau were able to put in their first serious laps with the Italian manufacturer’s new bike in the afternoon.

Loris and Sete also had the 2005 version available in the pit garage for eventual back-to-back tests but on this first day they concentrated exclusively on the new GP6.

Loris Capirossi, who set a best time of 1m42.644s in his 35 laps, was already able to give some positive impressions.

"Despite the fact that the track was not in the best condition, I got a good feeling from the new bike" declared Loris. "I immediately felt OK on it and that’s positive. We did a good job today and started off in the best possible way. As the conditions were not so good, we mainly focussed on engine management to improve the bike’s ‘rideability’ rather than suspension set-up or tyres. On this track in these conditions you can do a good job and that’s what we did today. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll wake up with some good weather."

It was also the first time out on the 2006 bike for Sete Gibernau, who spent the day getting used to his new team, machine and surroundings. Today was virtually a debut for Sete with Ducati, seeing as in the previous test at Valencia the weather conditions did not allow him to do any serious testing. The Spanish rider completed 52 laps, his best time being 1m42.606s.

"It was a good day today" commented Sete at the end of the session. "First impressions were good and I am more and more convinced that I made the right decision, especially because I can see that everyone, members of the team and Bridgestone personnel included, really want to do well and they have a lot of faith in me: that was what I was looking for and I’m happy to have found it. We’ve got a lot of work to do but the most important thing is that everyone has a great desire to work! Today I started to get familiar with the Ducati and the Bridgestone tyres as well as the team’s working method. Let’s hope tomorrow will bring some good weather so we can continue working like we did today."

The Ducati Marlboro Team will continue testing at Jerez tomorrow, Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 November.

Temperature: air 17° - 18°, track 16° - 20°

Pedrosa starts his 2006 MotoGP preseason

November 22nd, 2005

Big excitement at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia due to Dani Pedrosa’s debut on what will be his new machine for the 2006 season.

In front of more than thirty journalists and TV cameras, and in the venue where only three days ago the Repsol rider took his eighth victory of the season, Dani Pedrosa started today his 2006 preseason, where he will be racing in the premier class of the Motorcycle World Championship, MotoGP.

At 10.20h, dressed with a red overall and on his Honda RC211V with some changes, Pedrosa made a total of 62 laps on the Valencian track. Dani has been working from early in the morning together with technicians and mechanics of the Repsol Honda Team to adapt the bike to his needs in order to facilitate his riding to a bigger bike than his "old" Honda RS 250 W with which he took his third world title only a couple of weeks ago.

Nicky Hayden, who was also present at the private tests, set the fastest time of all riders present, after a total of 53 laps and 210 kilometres.

The weather did not make things easy for Dani in his first tests. First there was strong wind and low temperatures -10º C-, and later the sky was covered with thick black clouds that brought intermittent rain. However, Dani managed to follow the planned test schedule with the main aim of adapting to his new machine and tune the main elements -brake and gear bars, handlebars, seat, suspensions, footrests - according to his needs and physical characteristics.

Stoner burns rivals

November 10th, 2005

AUSTRALIAN Casey Stoner has issued an instant warning to his MotoGP rivals.

The 20-year-old blasted his way around the Valencia track in Spain in his first outing on a MotoGP bike yesterday.

Stoner was courted by Yamaha, but Honda eventually secured his services.

He was the fastest rookie on the track yesterday, just 0.6sec a lap slower than the pacesetter, Honda’s Nicky Hayden.

Stoner was 0.1sec faster than new Honda teammate Carlos Checa, who crashed at high speed but was uninjured.

There has been no official word on Stoner’s ride for next year — there is some debate over the final team line-up and sponsor — but he is certain to be on a fast Honda.

Camel Honda team boss Sito Pons was impressed with both Stoner and Checa.

"Both riders have shown great potential with the RCV and have adapted to the machine very quickly," Pons said.

"Carlos had a crash this morning but returned to the track in the afternoon and set some good times. Casey was a about a 10th off a second quicker but he had more time on the bike."

Perhaps more importantly for Stoner, he was 0.5sec faster than Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who beat him for the 250cc title this year.

Another Australian, Chris Vermeulen, tested a Suzuki MotoGP bike, his first outing on the bike, but was unable to set a fast time before bad weather set in.

He will race alongside American John Hopkins for the factory Suzuki team.

"I will try to take that step up to fill the boots of Suzuki world champions like Barry Sheene — Barry was the guy who gave me my first chance and I shall never forget that," Vermeulen said.

Former Honda rider Sete Gibernau was 0.1sec slower than Stoner on his first outing for Ducati at yesterday’s practice session.

The Spaniard said he would need to alter his riding style to be fast on the bike, but was happy he made the switch.

"Every minute that passes I am more convinced that I made the right decision," Gibernau said.

 

 

The Return of Crashey Stoner

August 31, 2008 by Jacob Black 

 

Australia’s Casey Stoner has thrown his championship aspirations down the road with his Ducati today in Misano. The reigning world champion has now crashed in the last three rounds, with two of those coming while protecting a comfortable lead handng Rossi the championship lead by 75 points with five rounds remaining.

 

It was an otherwise uneventful race at Misano, after Randy De Puniet got his customary exit out of the way early on lap one the race settled into a rhythm. Dani Pedrosa managed to hold up compatriots Toni Elias and Jorge Lorenzo until lap four when both Spaniards made their way into third and fourth.

 After eight laps Stoner had eked out a 3 second advantage over championship leader Valentino Rossi and was looking comfortable, so comfortable the Ducati rider decided to have a wee lie down in the Misano gravel.   

Stoner re-broke his scaphoid in bizarre circumstances during the week, appearing to reopen a break sustained in 2003, the accident appeared to be due to the weakness in his arm as a result of that injury, the Alice Ducati simply folding from under Stoner during a medium speed right hander. Regardless of the reason behind it the disappointing exit of Casey Stoner lit up the Italian crowd who’s enthusiasm didn’t waver even as Rossi settled into a comfortable rhythm at the front.

The battle for fifth provided some entertainment for the crowd as James Toseland and Chris Vermeulen closed on Andrea Dovisioso. The Tech 3 Yamaha passed the Honda of Dovioso with eight laps to go and the Rizla Suzuki of Vermeulen elbowed his way past the fading Dovisioso a lap later.  The three riders allowed Loris Capirossi to close up behind them as they battled, and when Vermeulen passed Toseland with six laps to go it was a Rizla double decker sandwich. Capirossi, Toseland and Dovisioso made the last lap interesting in the battle for sixth but it was Rossi crossing the line first ahead of team mate Lorenzo and Toni Elias.

Kawasaki riders Anthony West and John Hopkins rounded out the depleted field of fifteen. Honda’s Nicky Hayden failed to start due to a leg injury and De Puniet, De Angelis and Stoner all failed to finish.

Rossi now leads the championship by 75 points from Stoner.

 

Rossi Two Races Clear of Stoner

August 17, 2008 by Jacob Black 

It is the race that may well define the 2008 MotoGP season. Bookmakers couldn’t pick it, and scriptwriters couldn’t dream it up. The end of the day would see Stoner’s championship hopes fading fast after the weekend looked so promising.  As a tense looking Casey Stoner lined up in pole position next to a relaxed and energetic Valentino Rossi no one could pick the outcome of the dramatic Brno MotoGP.

Rossi’s smile evaporated soon after the start as the Ducati rider led the pack into turn one, Stoner led by more than a second after the first lap, and set a new lap record on lap two and again on lap five.

With more than a second and a half to next place Rossi and a further seven seconds back to the group vying for third Stoner looked comfortable, until a clumsy low-side on lap six took the Australian out of the race. Stoner managed to remount the Ducati but failed to make it back to pit lane and eventually stopped on the side of the track, his torn and tattered leathers a fitting simile for the reigning champion’s title hopes.

As Rossi settled into a rhythm and eked out a 15 second advantage over the field, the race for second sizzled behind him. Dani Pedrosa fired his Honda from 12th on the grid into fifth part way through lap one before slowly fading backwards, while the two Kawasaki’s of Anthony West and John Hopkins battled with Capirossi and Vermeulen on the Rizla Suzukis for the final podium spot. On lap four the hard charging Elias signaled his arrival with a daring move on Dovizioso which also displaced Ant West. Randy De Puniet made yet another brief but romantic congress with the asphalt on lap five, and on lap six Stoner’s Ducati seemed to hit a bump in the track on a long right hander, throwing the number one machine down the road, and gifting Rossi 25 championship points.

With the battle group for third now a battle group for second tempers flared and the pace heated up, Capirossi, Vermeulen, West and Hopkins carving each other up lap after lap until on lap 10, Tony Elias from 13thon the grid launched the satellite Ducati into second, saving face for Ducati on a disastrous day and simulataneously reviving his flagging career. Shinya Nakano caught up to the battle group. Vermeulen was balked by Elias and never really recovered, fading to sixth behind Nakano and West while teammate Capirossi sealed a welcome podium for the Rizla team. Marco Melandri was a solid seventh ahead of Alex De Angelis and Andrea Dovizioso, once as high as 5th was the best of the Michelin riders in ninth. Jorge Lorenzo rounded out the top ten pipping John Hopkins in the dying stages of the race.

The MotoGP championship leaves Brno with Rossi 50 points clear of Stoner, and Pedrosa a further 15 points back in third. It will be a hard task for the field to catch Rossi from here, however the drama of the final few rounds of 2006 is not such a distant memory and with six rounds remaining the fight is certainly not over. The MotoGP circus now heads to San Marino, a crucial round for the title hopes of Stoner and Pedrosa, and also for the future of Michelin who are once again lagging behind Bridgestone.

 

Casey’s Stunner

June 29, 2008 by Jacob Black 

Casey Stoner has smashed the lap record and bettered the 2007 A-Style Assen TT race time by almost 25 seconds in a dominant display at a dramatic Dutch MotoGP. The Ducati pilot doubled his winning margin from Donnington, crossing the line once again standing tall on the vertical Ducati  11.31 seconds ahead of Honda rider Dani Pedrosa.

Pedrosa’s teammate Nicky Hayden rode a strong race in third on the new pneumatic engine Honda, but the fresh engine proved to be too thirsty.  It was 2 years ago that a late race crash by Colin Edwards gifted Hayden his only MotoGP win outside of the USA, and with the Honda spluttering towards the line on fumes, the Tech 3 Yamaha swept by to claim the final podium spot and redress Edwards’ disappointment from 2006. Ironically Assen was the worst qualifying performance of the season for Edwards, and his best race result.

Nicky Hayden limped across the line behind his delighted compatriot for fourth while Andrea Dovizioso scored his fourth top five result in MotoGP with fifth place on the JiR Team Scot Honda.   

Jorge Lorenzo continued his solid showing with sixth place ahead of solo Suzuki rider Chris Vermeulen and the sole remaining Gresini Honda of Shinya Nakano while James Toseland racked up another top ten finish in ninth.

Sylvain Guintoli just managed to finish in the top ten for the first time this season. Guintoli’s tenth was the best performance by a Ducati other than Casey Stoner with Elias and Melandri finishing second last and last after being rounded up by a recovering Valentino Rossi for 11th and a valuable 5 points in the championship.

The opening lap saw Rossi make a critical error into the left hander at turn one, loading up the rear brake and low-siding on cold Bridgestones. The sliding Yamaha took out perennial crasher Randy De Puniet, surprising most in the paddock, who are more accustomed to seeing the asphalt-friendly Frenchman play the villain then the victim.

The same lap saw Alex De Angelis throw the Gresini Honda down the road in a nasty accident that appeared to injure the Italian for a brief moment and Anthony West joined the list of non-finishers on lap seven with a clumsy low side under breaking that didn’t help the terrible season for Kawasaki.

Casey’s dominant performance at Assen has closed the points gap between him and front runners Rossi and Pedrosa to just 25 points. Pedrosa has taken the lead from Valentino Rossi and leads the veteran 171 points to 167.

The next round at the Sachsenring Germany takes place on the 13th July.

 

 

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